This week’s episode sheds some light on John Constantine’s cab-driving mate Chas Chandler (Charles Halford), his fractured family, and his seeming inability to die. We open in Brooklyn where a little girl–Chas’s daughter Geraldine (Alexa Nisenson), we learn–falls victim to some sort of ghostly intruder. Meanwhile, John (Matt Ryan) is casting a “duplicity spell” around his safehouse in order to more successfully keep out unwanted guests like the ones who tried to abduct Zed (Angelica Celaya). Zed reveals that they were members of a cult known as the Resurrection Crusade, who are bent on using her psychic abilities for their own nefarious purposes, at the command of her own father. She insists that she has to disappear before they try to take her again, but the discussion is tabled when her scrying map begins to bleed, in the area of New York–Brooklyn, specifically, where Chas has gone to try and mend his relationship with his wife and daughter.
In New York, Chas is preparing to visit his family, but he’s also remembering where things began to fall apart for them. Two years earlier, he was in the same neighbourhood, at a nightclub with John and his latest romantic conquest. John stumbles home with his lady friend, but not before jokingly casting some kind of spell of protection on his cabbie pal. Chas stays to watch the band play but a deadly fire breaks out, and he pitches in to try and help people escape the blaze. The flashback ends as Chas succumbs to smoke inhalation and passes out. Back in the present, he stops in to greet his ex-wife, Renee (Amanda Clayton), who chastises him for his constant absenteeism (as well as revealing to us his real name–Francis!). Chas goes upstairs to see Geraldine, only to find her unconscious on the floor.
Back at the safehouse, John and Zed have learned of a strange epidemic in the Big Apple, one that has sent dozens of seemingly random individuals into coma-like states–Geraldine was among the first victims. Bags packed full of mystical totems from the likes of Achilles and Aleister Crowley, the duo heads for New York to try and help.
Meeting Chas in the hospital, John has a look at Geraldine and notices that she has what he calls “celestial burn marks” around her mouth, indicating where her soul has left her body. John promises to do whatever he can to restore Geraldine’s soul to her body, which doesn’t do much to improve Renee’s mood–she knows about John’s failure at Newcastle, and isn’t too confident about his chances to save another little girl in supernatural peril. In another flashback, Chas is surprised to find himself alive and unscathed in the hospital after the fire, and he senses that John had something to do with it.
In the present, John brings Chas and Zed along to an Army Surplus store to meet a medium that works there, a guy named Fennell (Roger Floyd) that is none too happy to see John. He pulls a shotgun, but a desperate Chas takes it away from him and insists that Fennell help them contact his daughter in the spirit world. Fennell obliges them, briefly speaking in Geraldine’s voice before the spiritual contact is hijacked by a much more powerful and malevolent presence… one who knows John Constantine and warns him off before levitating Fennell and causing him to burst into flames. Now it’s Zed’s turn to try and identify the culprit, and she uses her powers to try and “trace the call”, as it were. Her visions show her the seemingly abandoned Haskins Railroad yard, which is now home to cauldrons, swirling vapour, and a hooded figure wielding a dagger. The trio finds the spot, which appears deserted until John is able to identify and disperse the cloaking spell that hides its sole inhabitant–Felix Faust (Mark Margolis, AKA the stroke-addled, bell-ringing gangster Hector Salamanca from Breaking Bad!), a perpetual apprentice to dark wizards who has recently stepped up to the big leagues. Faust has gotten a power boost from the “rising darkness” John keeps hearing about, and now he wants Constantine to go to work for him.
Apparently a demonic parasite has been feeding on Faust’s power, and if John takes care of it, Faust will (allegedly) return the souls he’s stolen, including Geraldine’s. John and Zed head off to New Jersey to find the creature, sending Chas back to the hospital to be with his daughter. Meanwhile, in another flashback, Chas confronts John to find out why he’s still alive. John reveals that the protection spell he cast on Chas in jest seems to have worked far better than he meant it to. The spell was created by Merlin, to be used on King Arthur if his knights fell; the idea was that their souls would be then transferred to their king, allowing to him cheat death again and again according to their number. Being the only survivor of the nightclub inferno, Chas has been imbued with the souls of the 47 people who didn’t make it out alive, and now has a life to gamble with from each of them.
In present-day New Jersey, John uses Zed as bait to trap the demonic parasite, which they find snacking on some poor guy’s guts in a warehouse. John magically disperses the creature’s energy, and, thinking that the deal is done, he and Zed return to the hospital to tell Chas the good news. John and Chas leave together to tell Faust that they’ve held up their end of the bargain, leaving Zed with Renee to wait for Geraldine to wake up. However, Faust decides to go back on his part of the deal. John wants to pull back and come up with another plan to restore Geraldine’s soul, but Chas sucker-punches him and stashes him in the back of his cab before heading back inside to settle with Faust once and for all. And in another flashback, we watch as Chas’s family life begins to crumble because of his involvement with John Constantine. Chas misses Geraldine’s birthday, and his explanation to Renee that he was busy helping John keep the Monkey King from eviscerating an innocent family isn’t enough to keep her from kicking him out. In the present again, Chas offers the remaining 32 souls in his body to Faust in exchange for his daughter’s and, to prove that he means business, he slits his own throat in front of the master of dark arts. Make that 31 souls…
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Zed offers to try and use her abilities to contact Geraldine, but her inexperience causes psychic feedback that gives her a seizure. While the paramedics deal with Zed, the address of the Haskins Railroad falls out of her bag, and Renee takes it so she can go see for herself what’s going on. Back at the Railroad, Chas has awakened, and gotten Faust to agree to his deal. They shake on it, but Chas produces a hand grenade and blows them both to bits right in front of an awakened John and a newly-arrived Renee. In one final flashback, we see that Chas asks John to reverse the protection spell, but it’s impossible. John does convince him to use this ability as a weapon against evil at his side, promising to always have Chas’s back in return.
In the present, Chas comes home in one piece and both Renee and a restored Geraldine are happy to see him. Chas has brought along a book filled with pictures of all the souls contained within him, and he tells his daughter all about them. It looks like the Chandler family is whole again, but time will tell if it’ll last. At the hospital, Zed awakens to tell John that she saw a little girl at the mercy of a bad man and couldn’t help but try and intervene, even if it nearly killed her. She also says that she saw John’s mother on the other side, who told her to tell John that her death wasn’t his fault… but that’s a story for another week.
DC Comics Easter Egg Watch: Although he’s not traditionally associated with the comic-book version of John Constantine, Felix Faust is one of the deadliest enemies of the Justice League of America, having bedevilled Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of their super friends since the tenth issue of their comic series in 1962. And the “Monkey King” Chas refers to is also known as a “Kamara”, a fear-powered creature that first faced Etrigan the Demon in his 1970s comic series, before re-appearing in the pages of Saga of the Swamp Thing #26 and 27, only a few months before a roguish magician named John Constantine made his first appearance.
When is Constantine on TV? In Canada, Constantine airs Fridays at 8 et/pt on Global TV
Where can I watch Constantine online for free? GlobalTV.com/constantine streams full episodes of Constantineonline for free, or watch with the Global Go app on your iOS or Android mobile device. Episodes are typically posted the day after the initial on-air broadcast.